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How to Break in Your New Football Boots

Just bought a shiny new pair of football boots? Don’t rush onto the pitch before you follow our break in tips.

My favourite football boot trend over the past decade is how out of the box comfort is no longer seen as a plus point, but a given feature of the boot. Gone are the days where we’d have to go through a baptism of fire blisters to prove ourselves worthy of the boot.

The use of newer, softer synthetics and knit, as well as good old leather, means that most boots do not require an extensive breaking in process. Having said that, I’d still recommend investing some time to break in your football boots before a match so you’re fully focused on your performance.

As someone who tests new boots on a regular basis, I’ve gathered a number of tips over the years on how to best break in new football boots, as well as some hacks for when you’re in a… pinch.

Break in your new football boots by wearing them at home

Of all the tips that we’re about to share, this is a personal favourite, and one that I still do for every newly purchased boot. During work or when catching up on Netflix at home, pull on a comfortable pair of socks, and lace up in your new boots.

Leave them on for at least 30 minutes for the boot to break in by moulding around feet, although for best effects, do try to walk around in them every few minutes to have the upper ease up.

Level up tip: If you feel some hotspots or areas that feel slightly uncomfortable, an easy solution would be to apply some Vaseline or Petroleum Jelly to those areas on the inside. These will help to relieve the pressure and ensure that those areas are more broken in when you take them into a game.

Break in your new football boots by warming up in them before the match or in training

Walking around in football boots is not always welcome at the office or at home so perhaps the next best thing to do is to wear them on the pitch before a game. Arrive at least 15-20 minutes before your match begins and warm up in them.

how to break in your football boots - De Bryune warm up
Warm up in your new boots to help the material mould to your foot

Get your feet warmed up in an older, broken in pair of boots for the first 10 minutes, before changing over to the newer boots to continue with the rest of the session prior to the match.

Level up tip: Another “hack” that we favour is to apply some blister or surgical tape on frequently blistered areas such as the top of the toes, the heel and the outside of the foot. Both types of tape are breathable so it won’t trap too much sweat while reducing friction on that area of the boot.

2nd Level up tip: If you want to go the extra mile for even more comfort, consider changing your insoles as well. I’ve been using the Currex CleatPro insoles for a few years now, and despite trying quite a number of other well established brands, this is still my favourite.

Unlike other insoles, it isn’t overly bulky and I enjoy the added comfort from the arch support and Poron inserts. The CleatPro insoles also seem to make the boot fit better, reducing any excess space inside, thanks to their Dynamic Arch Technology fitting to your foot better.

Break in your new football boots with a “boot bath”

Made popular by none other than the G.O.A.T himself, Mr Cristiano Ronaldo who posted a photo of him soaking his Nike Mercurial Superfly 3, the boot bath is a tried and trusted method to break in football boots more quickly. That said, it might come with some risk of damage. As someone who likes to get his football boots super tight despite his wide feet, I use this method quite often to get the best possible fit after sizing down.

To ensure that your boots don’t get damaged during the process, I’ve made a couple of adjustments to the process. Instead of soaking them in hot water, wear your boots and run room temperature or cold water over the boots until thoroughly soaked. After that, walk around in the soaked boots for at least 10 minutes. The heat from your foot, simulates the “hot water” used to soften the upper, while moving in it ensures that the creases mould to your feet in all scenarios.

How to dry your football boots

After all that comes the most important step – drying the boots properly to prevent it any lasting damage. Remove the insoles and leave the boots out to dry in a shaded area, away from direct sunlight. 12 hours later, stuff it with newspaper to extract out the excess moisture in the boots, changing the newspaper 12 hours later. We recommend leaving in a shoe tree or newspaper to help maintain the shape of the boots after it is completely dry.

Level up tip: For optimum effect, perform the boot bath while wearing your match socks. For us, that would be our favourite grip socks aka Falke, Liiteguard and Trusox. The former two have excellent compression which eliminates that pesky bunching of material when slipping into tighter boots, while the latter is the undisputed champion when it comes to grip elements which prevent any slippage in the boots. They’re also at a nice thickness to offer a nice amount of padding without taking away from your touch on the ball.

Dry your football boots like the pros

If you’re a boot nerd like us, you’ll notice in many interviews with Premier League kit men that mentions of boot steaming come up. Yes, there are boot steaming machines which essentially simulate what we do in the boot bath, but in a much quicker and more elegant fashion. Those same machines also cost a pretty penny so unless you’re doing this for a club or team, this probably isn’t the most cost efficient solution.

Premier League clubs have been known to use a specialised boot steamer to help players break in their boots more quickly

Having said that, in the interest of science, I did attempt to put my new boots in my food steamer to see if the same upper softening effects could be replicated without the cost or the soak. Unfortunately, my mum walked into the kitchen just as I was about to put my boots in, and I am now the proud owner of a palm mark across my right cheek. I recommend sticking to the boot bath.

We hope you enjoyed our guide on How to Break in Your New Football Boots. If you would like to see more guides like this, let us know in the comments below.

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